Paroxetine in human breast milk and nursing infants

Zachary N. Stowe, Lee S. Cohen, Amy Hostetter, James C. Ritchie, Michael J. Owens, Charles B. Nemeroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the extent of infant medication exposure through breast-feeding during maternal treatment with paroxetine. Method: Breast milk and paired maternal and infant sera were collected after 10 days of maternal treatment with paroxetine at a stable daily dose (10-50 mg/day). All samples were analyzed by means of high- performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection and a limit of detection of 2 ng/ml. Results: Breast milk paroxetine concentrations were highly variable (2-101 ng/ml) and were present in all breast milk samples (N=108). A significant gradient effect was observed, with greater paroxetine concentrations found in later portions of breast milk (hind milk) than in early portions (fore milk). No clear time course of paroxetine excretion into breast milk was demonstrated, although maternal paroxetine daily dose reliably predicted both trough and peak breast milk concentrations over a 24- hour period. In 16 mother and infant serum pairs, no detectable concentrations of paroxetine were found in the serum of the nursing infants. Conclusions: This study extends previous data by demonstrating the presence of paroxetine in the breast milk of nursing women treated with this medication. The low concentrations of paroxetine in infant serum and lack of any observable adverse effects after maternal use of this medication while breast-feeding parallels the available data on other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-189
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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